Whirlpool Corp. reported first-quarter net earnings of $92 million, compared to $169 million in the first quarter of 2011. Whirlpool's 1Q earnings were hit by lower tax credits. Sales were $4.3 billion, compared to $4.4 billion in 1Q 2011. Whirlpool said the decrease of 1% came from weaker appliance demand, and currency and tax issues.
First-quarter operating profit was $205 million, down from $228 million in 1Q 2011. On an adjusted basis 1Q operating profit was $232 million, up from $163 million in 1Q 2011.
Whirlpool said it saw strong profitability improvement in North America and Latin America, partially offset by weak conditions in Europe.
"Our cost and capacity-reduction initiatives and previously implemented cost-based pricing actions are on track to deliver our operating profit margin, earnings and free cash flow guidance for the year," said Chairman and CEO Jeff M. Fettig.
In North America, 1Q sales of $2.2 billion were down 1% from 1Q 2011. Overall, North America unit shipments were down about 7%--less than U.S. industry unit shipments of major appliances the T7 group of major appliances, which was down 10%. The North America region reported operating profit of $151 million compared to $59 million in the previous year. On an adjusted basis, operating profit of $151 million tripled from $52 million reported in the prior year.
(The T7 group includes household washers, dryers, refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, ranges, and compactors)
Whirlpool now expects full-year 2012 U.S. industry unit shipments to trend to the low end of its previous 0% to 3% range estimate.
In Latin America, 1Q 2012 sales were $1.3 billion, up 3% from 1Q 2011. Excluding currency translation, sales were up 7% while Latin America unit shipments increased 2%. Operating profit was $121 million compared to $174 million in 1Q 2011. Whirlpool expects full-year 2012 appliance industry shipments in the Latin America region to increase towards the high end of its previous 2% to 5% range estimate.
Whirlpool's Europe, Middle East and Africa business reported 1Q 2012 sales of $688 million, down 8% from 1Q 2011. Excluding currency translation, sales were down about 3%. Unit shipments for the region decreased 4%. Operating profit of $5 million improved from the $32 million fourth quarter loss but was down from $25 million in 1Q 2011. The company continues to expect full-year 2012 industry unit shipments to decrease 2% to 5%.
Whirlpool Asia reported 1Q sales of $202 million, down 3% from 1Q 2011. Excluding the impact of currency, sales increased 2%. Asia unit shipments increased 1%. Operating profit of $9 million was down from $11 million in 1Q 2011. The company now expects full-year 2012 industry unit shipments in Asia to increase at the low end of its previous 2% to 4% range estimate.
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